Parole denied in 1997 New Milford murder

NEW MILFORD — One of eight people serving time in prison for their role in killing teenager Maryann Measles was denied early release by the state’s pardon board.

Maggie Mae Bennett, who is serving the end of a 19-year prison term on a conspiracy charge, was denied early release by the board after hearing from prosecutors in the case and family members of the victim.

For more than six month during the fall of 1997 residents searched for 13-year-old Maryann Measles who had gone missing while at a grocery store with her mother. The teenager’s face was on flyers and posters that were plastered throughout the town.

But it wasn’t until her body was found months later wrapped with a blanket and chains in Lake Lillinonah that the harrowing and horrific details of her murder began to emerge.

Measles, a seventh-grade student at the time, was getting ready to report to police before she died that she had sex with two older men and statutory rape charges were likely. Some of those involved in the attack said it was meant to scare her away from making the allegations.

But rather than just scare Measles, the group gang-raped the teenager before beating her and drowning her in the lake. Measles fled at one point during the attack, only to be pulled back by one of her attackers.

Three men and five women were convicted and sentenced to prison for their role in the murder. Several women who participated in the murder said they were upset because Measles had sex with their boyfriends.

Bennett, who is expected to be released late next year, had petitioned the board for early release but was denied. Bennett, who cooperated with investigators, received the shortest prison sentence of all the defendants.

Litchfield State’s Attorney David Shepack, who wrote a letter arguing against Bennett’s release, said Friday she was given consideration during her sentencing for her cooperation in the case.

“The fact is the sentences reflect the seriousness of what was a particularly heinous crime,” Shepack said Monday.

The other seven defendants who are still serving time in prison include Keith Foster, who received a 110-year prison sentence, Deaneric Dupas who was sentenced to 47 years in prison and Ronald Rajcok, who is serving a 36 years in prison.